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Protect essential farm workers from deportation, farm worker will urge House Judiciary Committee

20-year-old farm worker Vicente Reyes will urge the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to recognize the essential contributions of the nation’s undocumented workers with a path to legalization and citizenship. Vicente will share his family’s experience as essential farm workers during COVID-19 and shed light on the inequities that undermine their health and safety on the job and within agricultural communities. Reyes, the only witness who was deemed an essential worker during the coronavirus pandemic, will testify at the hearing on behalf of undocumented farm workers who are at the core of the food supply chain and on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The college student has worked in agriculture since he was a child and during his college breaks has harvested carrots, beets, oranges, table grapes, onion, lettuce, kale, mustard and more in California’s Central Valley. Currently, Reyes works in the table-grape harvest, laboring along his undocumented mother and father. The federal government estimates half of the nation’s 2.5 million farm workers are undocumented. Reyes’ parents have worked in a variety of crops, but primarily in the table-grape industry for more than 15 years. Having labored on California’s fields for years, Reyes has personal understanding of the impact that legislation providing legalization for essential workers would have on the health of the workforce that feeds the nation.

Who: Vicente Reyes, a farm worker, student and UFW Foundation member.

What: Farm worker commenting on the need for legalization and protections from COVID-19 for essential agricultural workers in the House Judiciary Committee hearing.

When: 2 p.m. EST/11:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.

Where: The hearing will stream live via the House Judiciary Website.